Glass beads present an artistic spectrum of beauty with value. They come in vibrant colors, shape and finishes, and add a magical touch to the product. There are different types of glass beads like Czech glass beads, handmade dichroic glass, Millefiori, lamp work beads and even bumpy glass beads. They are available in different colors and sizes which artisans pick up to complete their canvas.
These beads are sometimes given different types of fancy finishes like Aurora Borealis or druk glass. Where druk glass beads are perfectly rounded and optically polished, multi-colored lamp work bead strands are in shapes ranging from fishes to twisted ovals. Luminous dichroic glass is another bead type which comes in a multitude of shapes. Then there are crackle glass beads. Czech glass beads with a pearl finish are great values because of the high quality and tremendous variety in colors, sizes and shapes.
Since glass becomes molten when heated to a certain temperature, glass artists can create any shape as well as layers, while holding the glass over a flame. A bead with raised decorations, bumps, dots, sparkly feathering, with foil inside or other applied decoration, is most likely a lamp-work bead. Many glass artists produce unbelievably complicated beautiful collectors' items in glass. The rainbow of colors and textures of beads available today gives infinite design ideas. The number of beads per strand and strands per hank depends on the size and weight of the beads.
There are glass pearls, art glass beads and cane glass beads. You can find glass pearls in all shapes. Glass beads are expensive compared to other beads but enhance the beauty of the product. They can also be added with embroidery pattern or used with sequins as well. A transparent glass bead has the tendency to reflect the base color and can be beautifully used with any color.
Beading is becoming a very popular pastime for many people around the globe but why stick to simply stringing beads when you can have so much more? Square stitch beading allows for a lot greater variety in your beadwork and instead of simple creating a string of beads for necklaces, bracelets or earrings, you can now create your own beaded fabrics. In this article we discuss how you can learn this and some ideas of what you can make with this beading technique.
Basic Instructions for Square Stitch Beading
These instructions may sound complicated but I encourage you to slowly do square stitch beading as you read through these instructions and you will discover that it is not nearly as complicated as it may sound.
Personally I prefer seed beads for this beading technique. It can be done with other beads if you prefer but you may not get the same effect. So take a couple of seed beads and a beaded needle and you are ready to begin.
Now take your threaded needle through your first bead and around once more and knot it. This bead will act as a stop bead for your project. Now take as many beads as you want to make your first row and thread them next to your first bead.
Once you have your first row it is time to turn around and do the second row. Thread the first bead of the second row next to the last bead of the first row and take the thread back through the last bead of the first row and back through the first bead of the second row. When you add the second bead of the second row you will then take the needle again through the second to last stitch of the first row, or as I prefer to do, take it through the last two beads of the first row if you are making a flat shape for a firmer hold. Continue working like this, each time threading the needle through the bead you are working on as well as the one lying next to it on the previous row.
In order to end my square stitch beading on a flat piece I also take the thread through two beads on the last two rows twice and then once through one bead on each row. This helps to give a firm hold.
Square stitch beading is not just for squares
In the basic instructions of square stitch beading above we were mainly dealing with squares; however the same technique can be used to create a wide variety of shapes by decreasing or increasing the number of beads at different places. Basically any pattern that can be created on a beading loom can be created with this beading technique.
Some basic ideas to get your square stitch beading started
The first item you could create to practice it is a coaster for your cups. This is a great starting project because it is just a plain square and you do not need to worry about any increasing or decreasing but can just work on the basic stitch.
Another project you may want to try as a beginner's project is a beaded bead. Make a small square or rectangle with square stitch beading and then when you finish it (about five rows or a little more) stitch together the beads from the first and last row to form a cylindrical bead.
You can also use this for various other projects and there are plenty of ideas online and in books to keep you busy for many enjoyable hours. Once you get used to working with this technique start creating your own patterns and ideas for even more variety.
In conclusion, square stitch beading is a great new technique to learn as a beginner in beading. This technique allows you to make a wide variety of patterns as well as objects such as coasters, bookmarks, beaded beads and much more. Virtually any pattern you can create with a beading loom you can create using square stitch. Let your imagination go and come up with some great square stitch beading ideas.
Clay craft beads can be used to create unique designs and are available in a range of shapes, sizes and colors. They are usually made in a kiln and are covered in a glaze to protect the clay as well as to add shine. You can find different types of clay beads. Some will be called clay although technically they are plastic as they are made from polymer clay. Some designers will combine clay beads with dulled metal to create pieces that look like they were made hundreds of years ago.
It is possible to find loads of different clay craft beads. If you like beads with pictures you can find mass produced beads in various colors that have had a picture applied using an on glaze transfer after which the beads are fired again. This gives a more uniform look and is cheaper than buying hand painted clay beads.
Oriental inspired designs are very popular particularly those with meaning such as the lucky sign or those resembling birth dates or birth years. Ceramic craft beads tend to be inexpensive so you can create different colored ensembles to suit any part of your wardrobe. If you are going to sell your designs you will find a market for cheap and cheerful products that match specific outfits.
Some plastic beads resemble clay ones very closely and will fool a lot of people. While some dismiss plastic as being cheap and nasty, you can actually find some amazing pieces that you would never know were plastic. Don't dismiss this variety of craft beads until you have had a chance to try working with them for yourself. You may be pleasantly surprised at the style and quality of the ones on the market today. They are particularly useful for decorating clothes as they are more likely to survive the washing process than crystal or glass beads.
Baby jewelry is gaining immense popularity as a memorable gift item for the new born ones. There are many on line stores who specifically deal in baby jewelry. You can find a lot of variety and selection to choose a pick for your infant. Gold and silver are the two best options for this purpose.
There are many attractive and pretty jewelry items available online. The good thing about on line shopping is the wide range of variety and comparatively lesser prices.
This is going to be the most unforgettable gift that your baby will cherish through out his or her life. It can be a gift for name giving ceremony right after birth or can be a birthday gift as well. Birth of a child is the momentous occasion and obviously the most joyous one for the parents. They wish something very special for their baby. Jewelry is considered an apt selection for this purpose.
Gold jewelry is considered a preferred choice when it comes to baby jewelry. It can be white or yellow gold. Plain gold rings and bracelets make a wonderful gift for the new born ones. These items always remind them of those lovely feelings showered upon them by their parents.
Such items are made using the best quality gold to ensure the usability and durability. Such gifts are there to be treasured for the rest of the lives. There are many on line jewelry stores who deal in baby gold jewelry only. They offer a whole range of such gold items. They have separate designs for baby girls and baby boys. Browse those sites and make your selection.
Make sure about the quality of that product. Have your ever noticed someone wearing a little and tiny ring as a pendant in a chain? Well, most of the times it would be that gold ring the parents gifted to their baby after his or her arrival into this world. This is the durability of a gold gift.
Silver jewelry is the other option. It looks equally pretty and appealing. It displays a more stylish view when used with gem stones and birth stones. There are many parents who prefer the silver jewelry for their infants.
There are many online jewelry web sites that offer silver jewelry with a personalized touch. It can be the engraved name of the baby or it can be any verse as well. You can also get the same style for the gold jewelry.
To work effectively with friends, customers and suppliers, jewelry makers should learn the terminology of jewelry-making supplies. The right terminology will help define a need for the right jewelry closure when images are not available.
Jewelry toggles make up a second category of jewelry closures, along with lobster claw clasps, for handmade artisan jewelry, mass-market costume jewelry and fine jewelry. You will see toggle closures on jewelry pieces from Tiffany and David Yurman down to special Mothers Day gifts that only a mother would wear. Toggle clasps can fasten jewelry and enhance jewelry appearance. Many jewelry-makers use toggles as closures for their necklaces, bracelets, and anklets.
What is a jewelry toggle? (Jewellery toggle for you Brits!)
A jewelry toggle is a set of two pieces: a jewelry loop and a jewelry stick. The jewelry loop is attached to one end of your jewelry chain, strung beads, seed bead weave, wire crochet, etc. The jewelry stick is attached to the other end. To hold the jewelry together around the neck, wrist or ankle, one inserts the jewelry stick through the jewelry loop; the stick then rests against the jewelry loop by gravity to hold the jewelry together. If the jewelry piece does not have some slack, then the size is most likely too tight for long lasting jewelry.
Mechanics of Toggles
The shortest distance from your anchor point (often a ring soldered on or cast midway a metal toggle stick) to the end of the stick must be longer than the widest opening of your toggle loop. Otherwise, the toggle stick will easily slip through the loop and the jewelry will drop off. The toggle loop must be big enough to accommodate the smallest beads on the end attached to the toggle stick. The stick must be pulled through the loop before it can be turned to rest against the toggle loop. For that reason, many designers who use toggles will graduate end beads down in size. A toggle that is heavy with respect to the beads and other components will help a bracelet to hang comfortably, with the toggle loop underneath the wrist. Lighter weight toggles will let a bracelet rotate around the wrist as gravity drags on the heaviest parts of the bracelet.
Your "stick" may be as simple as a button with a shank used with a loop of seed beads on bead wire. Your loop may be quite fancy, with "expandable" toggles of several rings attached together. The rings on both the toggle loop and toggle stick should be firmly attached. Cheaply manufactured toggles will often have rings that will twist off or deform or sticks that have no rigidity and bend under tension.
When using chain, toggles will usually be fastened with open jump rings, split rings or link locks. If one wishes to have soldered connections, then chain end caps will be used. Jewelry designers will usually fasten toggles to bead wire projects using crimps. The wire is strung through the toggle or stick loop, then doubled through the crimp before it is flattened into place. Bead wire projects and fiber projects such as knotted silk jewelry pieces will often use clam shells or bead tips to make the transition from the knotted fiber to the toggle. Inexpensive leather or fiber pieces may be knotted directly onto the toggle pieces with overhand knots.
Most toggles used in the United States will be made of cast or assembled metal alloys. High end jewelry will use Platinum, Gold, Palladium and Sterling Silver toggles. One will often see Stainless Steel, Surgical Steel and Titanium for edgy, contemporary jewelry. Middle-market products will most likely use Gold-filled toggles and Sterling Silver toggles. Plated toggles will feature brass, surgical steel or copper with plates of gold, silver. copper, gunmetal/"blackened nickel", imitation rhodium, imitation silver and imitation gold. Gold, silver, copper and brass may be oxidized or antiqued for the look of aged jewelry components. Solid copper toggles have their enthusiasts for the alleged medical benefits. Raw brass and lacquered brass toggles have their fans, too. One may also find toggle sets of wood or stone. Some toggles are decorated with crystals, cubic zirconia or gemstones. Pot metal toggles will appear on only the very cheapest of jewelry.
Fashionistas usually regard jewelry toggles as more fashionable than lobster claw clasps. However, toggle clasps come with a bit more risk than lobster claw clasps. Even well-sized jewelry using toggles may fall off the body in the wrong situation. These "wrong situations" may be as simple as resting the wrist on a desktop or otherwise relaxing the tension on the piece.
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